Mechanical keyboard upgrade guide: Abs vs Pbt keycaps

Mechanical keyboard upgrade guide: Abs vs Pbt keycaps

A mechanical keyboard is a realm of customization. It’s necessary to choose the best kit for your keyboard. 

Let’s face the necessity of Keycaps and I will compare the ABS and PBT keycaps side-by-side

Choosing between ABS and PBT keycaps? This guide compares their feel, sound, durability, and price to help you find the perfect upgrade for your mechanical keyboard.


What are ABS keycaps?

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene(ABS) is a copolymer plastic that is used in the production of mechanical keyboard keycaps.

Why it is used the reason is not only because it is durable but also because it is resistant and cheap to produce. It’s not odd that after rough uses, an ABS keycap will have the lettering start to fade away and the keycap will start to thin.

What are PBT Keycaps?

PBT Keycaps

Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT). Usually, PBT keycaps are expensive compared to the ABS keycaps. As a result most cases you have to buy them separately. PBT is more rigid and brittle than ABS. On the other hand, it’s possible to use PBT keycaps for a long period before they fade up.

PBT keycaps have excellent texture quality. Usually, more expensive PBT keycaps will have a nicer texture than the cheaper versions. PBT keycaps are made with a matte finish and are not very shiny. On the other hand, it also tends to be thicker.


Abs vs Pbt Comparison

ABS vs PBT Keycaps Comparison

  • ABS keycaps are Smoother, and shinier feel.
  • It comes with Cheaper, more colorful options.
  • But gets greasy and worn over time, like a well-loved book.
  • PBT keycaps textured matte finish. Tougher, and lasts longer. No shine, even after years of typing storms.
  • More expensive, fewer flashy colors.

Cost of Abs vs Pbt Keycaps

keycap-matterial : pbt-vs-abs

Usually, PBT keycaps are more expensive compared to ABS keycaps. 

The only reason is that PBT keycaps are very difficult to produce, and the reason behind it’s harder to give the keycap shape at the time of the injecting molding process. On the market, you can find ABS keycaps which are more expensive than PBT keycaps. 

In reality, the reason behind this is the thickness of that ABS keycap which is made with some fancy designs.

The texture of Abs vs Pbt Keycaps

When it comes to ABS keycaps they tend to provide a smooth and shiny outcome, on the other hand, PBT is textured and matte.

The reason behind this is the presence of different plastic materials which used to give the shape of these keycaps. 

Some ABS keycaps seem not to be like other ABS keycaps on the market, yes the price is the main factor. If the price is higher then it’s made with premium build quality. I suggest you test before you stick to it.

The Thickness of Abs vs PbtKeycaps

Considering the thickness between PBT and ABS, PBT keycaps are much thicker than ABS Keycaps. 

But it’s not constant!

Sometimes it depends on the the buyer which keycap set they are going to purchase.

Sound of  Abs vs Pbt Keycaps

As a developer, I have a close connection with keyboards. So I have tested different keycaps. And I found that it’s producing different sounds while typing. 

Usually, PBT keycaps are louder than ABS keycaps.

Abs vs Pbt – Which one should you get?

The decision is yours, ask your subconscious mind what you want to get! What is your need?

What kind of feedback do you want from the keycaps?

  • If you’re a person who doesn’t Like running your fingers through dry sand then PBT should not be at your preferences. 
  • On the other hand who likes Polished to a mirror finish which is ABS keycaps? It’s okay to prefer a smooth and shiny object.

The decision is yours which will make you feel comfortable. ABS and PBT both have different options so it’s easy for you to choose your preferred one depending on your need.


What are doubleshot keycaps?

Double-shoot keycaps

The production of doubleshot keycaps is kind of difficult, because of the making process, which tends to be complicated. 

The simple definition of the double shoot keycaps is the example of my keyboard, where lights come through every keycap. It works like the backlight of your laptop’s keyboard as a result it gives a cool look and is easier to read in the darkness!


What are keycap profiles?


Keycaps may have different shapes for different typing preferences.

 Different keycap profiles also have different heights.


What’s the best keycap?

The preferences for Keycaps are entirely individual.

If you’re not familiar with different keycaps, I suggest you choose the cheaper one.  I have an article that talks about keycaps(13 Best Keycaps: An Expert Guide For Buyers). If you’re interested you can check out it
I found that way that I love the cherry profile but don’t care for XDA.


04 Types of Keycaps For Mechanical Keyboards

Cheap Abs keycaps

Cheap ABS Keycaps

Most of us are familiar with this type of keycaps. They can be found as default keycaps of almost every mechanical keyboard out there. Cheap ABS keycaps are much thinner than others. And that thinner plastic produces a thinner sound while typing

Abs Keycaps – Premium

Premium ABS Keycaps

Premium ABS is found in the same material as the Budget stuff.

Premium ABS tends to be thicker than the cheaper ABS keycaps – so it provides a satisfying sound while typing.

Usually, the legends are double-shooted on Premium ABS keycaps, and the caps are well made. So it will hold the shine and color for a long period.

Pbt Keycaps – Budget

PBT Budjet Keycaps

This one is more expensive than ABS.

PBT is made to give you a premium vibe. The material between PBT and PBT premium is almost the same.

And you can expect the same sound and texture from the Budget – PBT Keycaps.

Pbt Keycaps – Premium

PBT Premium Keycaps

Premium PBT keycaps tend to be similar to the budget PBT

It’s easy to find different designs and colors on premium PBT sets.


05 Best Pbt Keycaps For Mechanical Keyboards

Ducky Joker Pbt Keycaps

Ducky Joker PBT Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Doubleshot PBT
  • Keycap Profile: OEM

Description: These vibrant pink, blue, and purple PBT caps resist shine and feel amazing under your fingers.

Double-shot legends won’t fade, even after marathon gaming sessions. Compatible with most MX-style switches.

Ducky Joker caps fit both full-size and 60% keyboards. Go bold, go Joker, and let your keyboard personality shine!

HyperX Pudding Pbt Doubleshot Keycaps

HyperX Pudding PBT Doubleshot Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Doubleshot PBT
  • Keycap Profile: OEM

Description: HyperX Pudding PBT Doubleshot keycaps are like candy for your fingers.

Crisp, clear pudding caps let your RGB shine through, while the doubleshot legends stand strong against sweaty raids.

PBT plastic means these bad boys are tough, resisting wear and tear like gaming champs. Choose your flavor – black, white, or rainbow mix – and get ready to level up your keyboard game. Double the style, double the fun. 

YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps

YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Dye-Sublimated PBT
  • Keycap Profile: DSA

Description: The DSA profile features a uniform, low-rise spherical shape that’s sculpted for comfort and accuracy. Whether you’re a seasoned typist or a gamer on the go, DSA keycaps provide a satisfying typing experience.

And the retro colorways? Those are a trip down memory lane. Think vintage cream and coffee tones, typewriter greys, and pops of cherry red. They’ll add a touch of personality to any keyboard setup.

So, if you’re looking for keycaps that combine timeless aesthetics with modern performance, YMDK DSA Retro is the way to go. Get ready to clackety-clack your way back to the good old days.

Hammerworks CRP Round 3 Keycaps

Hammerworks CRP Round 3 Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Dye-Sublimated Pbt
  • Keycap Profile: Cherry

Description: The Hammerworks CRP Round 3 keycaps arrive like titans of the typing world. Bold colors clash with iconic legends, each keystroke a satisfying thunk on your mechanical throne. 

Sculptural legends dance under your fingertips, guiding you through late-night quests and epic spreadsheets alike. 

Strong and smooth, PBT plastic endures countless battles, while dye sublimation inks ensure legends defy the fade.

YMDK Pbt Sublimation Keycaps

YMDK PBT Sublimation Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Dye-Sublimation Pbt
  • Keycap Profile: OEM

Description: Made from durable PBT plastic, these keycaps are resistant to shine and wear, keeping your legends crisp and clear for longer.  PBT has a slightly textured surface that some users find more grippy and comfortable than smoother ABS keycaps.

PBT keycaps generally produce a deeper, thicker sound compared to ABS, which some prefer for its satisfying typing experience

YMDK offers various keycap sets in various colors, profiles (like Cherry, OEM, and DSA), and themes to match your keyboard and style.

04 Best Abs Keycaps For Mechanical Keyboard

Drop DCX White on Black Keycaps

Drop DCX White on Black Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Double-Shot Abs
  • Keycap Profile: DCX/Cherry

Description: Sleek and sophisticated, the Drop DCX White on Black keycaps are a timeless classic for your mechanical keyboard.

Imagine crisp, white legends standing against a deep black backdrop, like moonlight on a starry night.

The doubleshot ABS construction ensures these keycaps are durable and long-lasting, while the subtly sculpted DCX profile provides a comfortable, natural typing experience.

Drop + Mito XDA Canvas Keycaps

Drop + Mito XDA Canvas Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Dye-Sublimated
  • Keycap Profile: XDA

Description: The Drop + Mito XDA Canvas Keycaps are a popular set of keycaps for mechanical keyboards.

They are made of PBT plastic and have a dye-sublimated printing process, which means that the legends are infused into the keycaps and will not fade over time.

The keycaps are also sculpted in the XDA profile, which is a uniform height profile that is similar to DSA. This profile is comfortable to type on and is compatible with a wide variety of keyboard layouts.

Drop + Mito GMK Pulse Custom Keycaps

Drop + Mito GMK Pulse Custom Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Thick Doubleshot Abs
  • Keycap Profile: Cherry or SA

Description: The Drop + Mito XDA Canvas Keycaps are a popular set of keycaps for mechanical keyboards.

They are made of PBT plastic and have a dye-sublimated printing process, which means that the legends are infused into the keycaps and will not fade over time.

The keycaps are also sculpted in the XDA profile, which is a uniform height profile that is similar to DSA. This profile is comfortable to type on and is compatible with a wide variety of keyboard layouts

Drop DSA Astrolokeys Keycaps

Drop DSA Astrolokeys Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Doubleshot Abs
  • Keycap Profile: DSA

Description: Made of high-quality doubleshot ABS plastic, these keycaps will resist wear and tear, and their flat, low-profile design is easy on your fingers.

The 104-key set includes everything you need for a full-sized keyboard, and the flat profile lets you swap keys around to create your unique layout.


At the end of Pbt vs Abs Keycaps: An Expert Guide For Buyers – I hope it helped you to choose your keycap materials.

Let me know if this article is helpful. I would like to hear your comment that’s so valuable for me.

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5 months ago

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